So, a few days ago, a friend sent me the page for the blouse at right. I, being five, laughed very, very hard at this. Then I went to the link and shared it on my personal Facebook page, because DICKBLOUSE. Apparently, according to Facebook, that’s good enough for me to Like the manufacturers of this blouse. At least according to the way the metrics are measured.
Facebook, yet again, has some ‘splaining to do when a bug in the system uncovered that every time a page is shared, the owner of the site can choose to register that share as a “Like.” So basically every time you decide to post a link laughing at some insane person, you’re inflating their Like count.
The Wall Street Journal, which ironically is pretty good about spotting some of Facebook’s crappier practices, lays out what’s been going on.
Facebook has said previously that its computers analyze messages to filter spam and to detect conversations that could be related to criminal behavior. The company’s guidance for developers also says that “the number of inbox messages containing” a link to a page will count as “Likes” – indicating that the recording of these links isn’t some sort of new bug.
It appears that accepting these Likes is entirely optional, and doesn’t apply to on-site Facebook widgets and the like. Still, while we have no idea how long this has been going on, this explains a lot. If you’ve been on the Internet at all, you’ve seen a website with an absolutely baffling Like count, and Facebook, to be fair, doesn’t really have much in the way of tracking tools. Shares, and Likes for that matter, are a bit tricky to follow.
One way or the other, it’ll be interesting to see what’ll happen now that Facebook has been busted. Hopefully the Like counts will be adjusted accordingly.